Posted by: greentangle | January 17, 2019

Considering the Mammals

I stopped working at the zoo earlier this month, a long-planned departure as I start collecting social security, working less, and playing more. I’ll miss the critters, but I’m happy I won’t have to deal with the long bus rides and icy walking for the rest of this winter. I’m on a blood thinner after having a DVT and being out in the cold dry weather increases my minor but irritating bleeding.

So partly because of not seeing those animals, partly to give myself something to write, partly to give myself an extra incentive to read a book I’ve owned for years (Behavior of North American Mammals by Mark Elbroch and Kurt Rinehart), I’m considering writing a series of posts inspired by some of the fifty or so entries in the book. I would aim at a mix of natural history, personal experience, politics, fun, and creativity—a different version of the Autobobography series (using Dylan songs as starting points) which I wrote on Hard Wood to Whittle in 2016 after first having the idea a couple years earlier. If you’re interested in seeing the sort of variety I’d be aiming for, that series began here and continued for about six months.

I do enjoy that sort of creative writing, but I’m not sure I’ll make time for it now that I’m looking through 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die and adding a second to-be-read list (I’m only up to the B’s) to my more current one.

I’ve almost finished my first nature read of the year (published late last year), In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World by Lauren Oakes. It describes hands-on scientific research and sociological issues related to climate change effects on an area of Alaskan forest.

It reminded me of my favorite nature works of last year: the novel The Overstory by Richard Powers, the nonfiction Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush, and the podcast series Threshold which in its second season traveled to Arctic areas around the world (though I’m obviously biased and preferred the first season featuring Yellowstone bison).

Given my new unfortunate (and hopefully temporary) aversion to being outside in winter, forecast highs in the single digits for the next three days and not much warmer for the rest of the month should leave plenty of time for readin’ and writin’. And listenin’—I’m fairly new to the podcast world so I’m still discovering my favorites, but a couple creative ones I’m currently enjoying catching up on are Nocturne and The Truth.




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